Monday, October 27, 2008

Back Away from the Palin: McCain Aides Say She's Gone Rogue Again

CNN and other news sources are reporting that Palin's gone off script again. The Republican VP nominee decided to talk directly to supporters about her expensive wardrobe bruhaha, a topic the McCain campaign hopes will die. One aide has called her a political diva who refuses to listen to advice, but here's part of what she told a group of supporters recently.
Palin denounced talks of her wardrobe as "ridiculous" and declared emphatically: "Those clothes, they are not my property."

"Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I'm not taking them with me," she said at a rally in Tampa, Florida. (CNN)
I saw YouTube video of that part of Palin's speech last night at HuffPo.

The clothes will be donated to charity to diffuse the fashiongate commentary.

When I saw the video of Palin denouncing the wardrobe criticism, I thought oh, so she admits that she's presenting a phony image with her expensive stylists, pricey make-up artist, and $150,000 designer wardrobe for the campaign. Of course, others have said that Palin's folksiness, which the high-priced styling seems to contradict, is itself the act.

The money spent on her wardrobe is unimportant in terms of whether a person, male or female, running for office should have camera-ready clothing. They've got to dress well in this shallow age, and it's true that society puts far more pressure on females to look great than pressure on men. Nevertheless, I think Palin's pricey make-over is additional evidence of an illusion being pushed on America, McCain's big magic trick of naming her as his running mate. If Palin pops up in 2012 as a credible presidential hopeful, the crime falls at McCain's feet.

But then, people who listen to something other than Fox News and read multiple news sources know that McCain's own story is riddled with illusion and myth. As New York Times Magazine tells it, he and his campaign have been made and remade.

The RNC can spend a mint on Palin, but all the fancy duds in the world will not make her qualified to be the vice president. The fuss about her clothes only draws attention to her being a token Barbie doll.

The blogosphere has buzzed before that Palin and her supporters feel the McCain campaign's made huge mistakes in how it introduced Palin to America and also have cramped her style. It's also been reported that McCain and Palin have chemistry and trust issues and lots of tension between them. Palin's ease in the speech clip in this post indicates that she's more comfortable using her own words. Aren't we all?

But given the other instance of her going rogue to suggest Obama is a communist, I think she's a nationalistic drama queen with a savior complex. She thinks, in my opinion, that she will show her true self and save, if not McCain's bid for the presidency, then at least her own future as a presidential contender. Insiders say she objected to the McCain campaign's attempt to tie Obama to Bill Ayers as a terrorist, but given her allusion to communism and Obama, I think she only objected to the Bill Ayers charge because she knows the skeletons in her closet on shady connections.

Conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck of ABC's The View has also been speaking out on Palin's behalf regarding the wardrobe controversy as has CNN journalist Campbell Brown. I agree with them that Palin's clothing issue is tinged with sexist objection, but I also believe that the high cost of primping Palin shows that Palin's reign is part dog and pony show.

Frankly, I enjoy watching the Obamas discuss dressing on a budget more than I like hearing about Palin's drama. However, we should all be reasonable on this topic. It's unlikely Obama would show up on camera for a major speech in a Wal-Mart suit, that Biden gets his shirts on consignment, or Michelle Obama would go to a fundraising gala in cheap rags.

Palin Before McCain

sarah palin in the grocery storeOn behalf of mothers everywhere, I've got to be fair on this. I doubt Palin, the mother of five, wears such spiffy fashion statements in Alaska. Spit-up on Valentino is a horrible thing. I think I left a comment on an early HuffPo post that showed her in an Alaska supermarket holding her baby, which is where I found this picture. If they showed more pictures like that, Palin might get more support from ordinary mommies. I mean more than she already has because while her support among women has dropped, she still has her female fans.

Added 3:30 P.M. CST: Here's video of McCain praising Palin during his recent appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.

McCain's not showing the tells of a liar in this clip as he did when talking about Obama with The Des Moines Register, but his voice is a little shaky in spots. Perhaps he has better image coaches now. Still, does he believe what he's saying? He says he and Palin are both Mavericks, which made me think of Billy the Bus Driver and "the maverick truth."

He also talked about growing crowds at his rally in a clip. I wonder how he feels about more than 100K people showing up in Denver for Obama and Obama's other huge crowds.

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